University of Massachusetts Amherst





UMASS Graduate Film Studies Certificate Course Requirements:

  1. one course in film theory

  2. a minimum of two courses taken outside the student’s degree-granting department and college

  3. a minimum of two courses with an international or intercultural focus

* Category notations are specified at the end of each course description.

N.B.  For a complete list of Graduate Film Studies Certificate requirements, please visit www.umass.edu/film




Prof. Demetria Shabazz  Machmer Hall RM 313B    dshabazz@comm.umass.edu

40207  TuTh 2:30PM - 3:45PM         Machmer Hall room E-10    Cap 10

This course involves preparation for and the implementation of an in-school and after school media literacy program with middle school children. Course content will focus on 1) basic elements of the program (critical thinking, definitions of race, ethnicity and their impact on ideas about culture and identities, citizenship, stereotypes, media literacy, and community media production), 2) politics of testing and profiling in Massachusetts primary and secondary education, 3) dynamics of power in naming and defining (non) white racial and cultural identities, 4) techniques for teaching and discussing material with middle schoolers.  This course involves the theory and application of community service learning, as pedagogy and as practice. The conceptual focus of the class is on engaged learning and global citizenship in the context of a mediated environment-and particularly with regard to mythologies of race, ethnicity and nationality as they impact community members.   Graduate students will work with a longstanding partnership between the Communication Department and a local middle school, called the Media re-Envisioning Program. The program includes a sequential in-school (6th grade) and after-school (6-8 grade) curriculum. We will take what we learn beyond the classroom by teaching and learning from kids about representations of race, ethnicity, and nationality within the media and how it impacts society. In addition we will help guide and prepare the middle-school students to create their own short programs for broadcast on Amherst Community Television. Graduate students will work with undergraduate students to prepare and implement the program and will be responsible for a research project connected with the program. Permission and admission to enroll will be granted on the basis of instructor consent. Readings in the course will draw from Critical Race Theory in Education, Community Service Learning and Civic Engagement, Critical Pedagogy, Puerto Rican Cultural Studies and Interracial Communication (among other areas).   TO ENROLL PLEASE CONTACT PROF. DEMETRIA SHABAZZ at dshabazz@comm.umass.edu or by phone at 545-5770

UMass Graduate Certificate course:  general

Dept/College:  Communication / Social & Behavioral Sciences



Prof. Shawn Shimpach  410 Machmer shimpach@comm.umass.edu

38942   Th 7:00PM - 10:00PM           Machmer Hall room 413   Cap 15

This seminar considers some of the significant theoretical and methodological issues that attend to the writing of media history.  The semester will be divided into thirds.  The first third will consider theories of historiography, querying general questions of "fact," "evidence," "interpretation," and "narrative" as well as questions more specific to media history regarding technology, representation, social history, popular memory, experience, and identity.  These will be drawn from the academic fields of history, cultural studies, and philosophy.  The second part of the course will examine a number of recent writings in media history to be considered both for their subject matter and the theories that inform them.  This section will focus on histories of the emergence of new media, from the printing press to film, broadcasting, and the internet.  In addition to questions of method and theory that inform these examples, we will consider how such examples in turn offer "lessons" that inform contemporary debates over policy, regulation, morals, influence, and meaning.  The final part of the semester will be devoted to in-class student presentations of their research project, developed in consultation with the instructor.  Students will be assessed on their class attendance and participation, in-class presentation of selected readings, a written historiographic analysis of a body of media studies writing, and a final research paper. (Course capacity is 15)

Course Eligibility*:  Open to Masters and Doctoral Communication Graduate students, others by permission of instructor.

UMass Graduate Certificate course:  general

Dept/College:  Communication / Social & Behavioral Sciences



Prof. Don Levine        

32625  W 3:35-7:35, Herter 222   Cap 20

Lecture.  Often referred to as the only indigenous American film style, "film noir" in its very appellation reveals that its major effects (for certain modern conceptions of cinema) lay elsewhere.  We will examine film noir in its American heyday (1945-1957) and how it came to be a major propelling force in the new European cinema of the 1960's (Godard, and the Cahiers du cinema).  How film noir displaces American social mores and their constitution of "reality" within the imaginary and symbolic fields, and within the symptomatic concretization of those fields that is normative (dominant) cinema.  How film noir both makes film different and allows already latent difference to be manifested.   How film noir takes shape in the U.S. as expression of the inexpressible (and the ‘unheimlich”) or, at least, of the allusion to it; which in the lens and on the screen of directors such as Godard and Fassbinder becomes pseudomorphic, presenting a critique of American imperialism both public (political) and private (psychic) – the American way of death and love (or, as the title of one work would have it, Love & Napalm: Export USA). Films by:  American directors such as Aldritch, Ray, Fuller, Kubrick, Welles; Foreign agents such as Lang, Ophuls, Siodmak, Sirk, Von Sternberg; European directors such as Godard, Fassbinder, Wenders. 

Note:  undergrads with previous film experience may register with instructor permission.

UMass Graduate Certificate course:  “International/intercultural” category

Dept/College:  Comparative Literature / Humanities & Fine Arts



Prof. Barton Byg

39780  TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM    location TBA   Cap 20

This course provides an overview of the principal, critical, and historical issues treated by German film studies as the field has developed since the 1970s. The "canon" of film movements and critical/historical texts will be introduced, as well as challenges to the idea of a "canon" or of a national cinema as a principal focus of study. The field of film studies itself will also be discussed as a phenomenon of cultural history. By studying a variety of film genres, students will gain practice in key methodological approaches (historical, psychoanalytic, feminist, formalist, queer, semiotic, etc.), and will become familiar with the resources and methods available to create their own undergrad film course syllabi.   Conducted in English.   Undergraduates admitted by permission of the instructor.

UMass Graduate Certificate course:  “International/intercultural” category

Dept/College:  Comparative Literature / Humanities & Fine Arts